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milesf 02-20-21 06:56 PM

"Budget" Bike Recommendations
 
I am looking to upgrade from a Cannondale Trail 6 (which I don't really like) to a bike that can handle a rougher single track. I have a pretty specific idea of what I'm looking for. Probably something from 2017-2020 (because I am on a budget). A 1x11 or 12 drivetrain, thru axels, hydraulic disks, a clutch derailleur, 29' wheels, good tires, tubeless ready, tapered head at least 120mm on the front fork, . It would be ideal if it came with a dropper post, but not required as I realize that raises the price a lot. Ideally a tapered headtube and threaded bottom bracket also. I am looking for something under $1500 and ideally under $1200, but the lower the better. Also ideally no 2021 models, because they seem to be quite expensive. Ideas of what to look for used also work (even though I know that buying a used bike is often harder and they aren't always in very good condition).

Attilio 02-20-21 07:28 PM

I was in your shoes last year and due to the corona-craziness had to pay list price for a Salsa Rangefinder that set me back about $1,300. Remember that you have to probably set aside maybe another $1-200 for different accessories like better pedals, better seat, lights and maybe a chain protector for your rear chassis. The rangefinder has a very weak rear derailleur that doesn't work very well which was made for a 1x 10 speed bike but they insisted on using it for their 12 speed design because other bikes had 12 speeds but they wanted to keep the price as low as possible. It doesn't shift that well and is slow. It required a lot of fine tuning from the shop before we got it to work right.

That said other than this piece of cost cutting that I will eventually upgrade when the rear derailleur breaks it's a solid bike. Excellent tires/wheels with great grip, good suspension and everything. The bike handles trails and fire roads very well, and people have said it looks like I take it through a swamp because I have! Traction in the snow is decent for what the bike is (not a fat bike but not bad if packed or not icy). You have to remember that you need to pay to play with MTB. I take it very easy, I don't do jumps and don't take any risks at all. I just ride where I might usually hike, maybe exploring powerline access roads or fire trails in the woods that's about it. No racing, no jumping and unlike the MTB videos you see I don't slap on rocket boosters trying to jump over the Grand Canyon.

I am throwing this out there to show that I am a pretty conservative, fearful, risk averse rider and the bike still takes a beating. So it's in your best interest to get a quality, solid and durable mountain bike because if you cheapen out then things will break more often so you won't save any money really but you will gain in frustration. Not saying you need to spend $5,000 on an MTB but like always stay away from department store specials. From everything I have been told by people who know more than I do it's very hard to get a bike you'll be happy riding over the long term for much less than $1000 so your budget seems good.

That said you can buy a second hand bike that used to be top of the line for a lot less than that and still possibly end up with a good bike the problem being MTB is very hard on the equipment so you can save money but then you will likely need to be handy and fix things. It's very unlikely you are buying a MTB that rode only a couple miles and back to church a couple times a month.

Remember you can only pick two: capable, reliable (or low user involvement), cheap

Darth Lefty 02-20-21 10:00 PM

Your description matches pretty much all hard tail mountain bikes between $1000 and $2000 for the last several model years so you should be able to find something. Probably most of them have 27.5+ wheels and tires instead of 29er. 27.5+ tires were kind of a two year fad for FS bikes but persist on hard tails. If it's three or four years old (MY18) and less expensive it might not have a dropper from the factory. The usual factory post is the Brand-X or Tranz-X 120mm, maybe 150 on a L or XL, and it costs about a hundred bucks retail. The factory tires are usually not true tubeless and weep if you use Stan's, but might have been replaced by now. Some of them have QR141 rear ends which is Boost spacing but not a thru axle, and that's really ok. In some ways it confers some versatility, a thru axle and standard lower rack mounts are pretty rare together. They will all have a 15mm front thru axle where it's more important. On the other hand in your price range you might score a decent aluminum FS. Shop on Pinkbike, nationwide and budget a hundred bucks or so to ship through a shop unless your local Craigslist is in a good MTB market.

If you tell us where you are we can look at your local market and see if there are any standouts among the Walmart Mongooses and 40yo ten speeds... some of us do this for fun

milesf 02-21-21 03:03 AM

Thanks so much for the advice, I'm in the California Bay Area.

P.S. Mongooses scare me, those things are death traps:lol:

DMC707 02-21-21 09:44 AM

i like Specialized . If you get a weekend or a day to yourself, a fun roadtrip would be to take Highway 101 south a few miles to Morgan Hill to visit the factory and company store ! And if i recall correctly , Gilroy is just 10 or so miles further south, its a fun town known as the garlic capital of the world! Treat yourself and since you live in a state that is fun to explore, do some exploring!

Then if you have time, drive down to Cambria and visit Cambria Bicycle Outfitters. They are the outfit that hooked me up withmy first full suspension Santa Cruz years ago and its a delightful little town to visit. And the bike shop is a bigger shop, but with a small shop feel. Everybody there rides and everybody is cooler and more chill than i will ever be (or at least thats the way it was a few years ago)
and it doesnt hurtt to stop outside San Simeon and take pics of the Sea Lions on the way down! And yes my mind is wandering thinking of a perfectbicycle oriented day trip

But back to business

the big boys have you coveredifyou can find any in stock - ilinked a pic to the Roscoe 6, but scrolldown to the 7 as it is 1350 but has a nicer air adjustable fork than the 6

Trek Roscoe

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/mountain-bikes/trail-mountain-bikes/roscoe/roscoe-6/p/33192/

specialized Fuse

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/fu...ext=96021-7001



https://www.specialized.com/us/en/fu...ext=96021-7001



https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/mountain-bikes/cross-country-mountain-bikes/x-caliber/x-caliber-9/p/29760/?colorCode=greenvisibility_tealdark


the SpecializedChisel is a little more than you intended to spin, but for $1600 gets you ahardtail you could legitimately take to the starting line , They are that well regarded

and the Fuse i linked to is their answer to the Roscoe, — ive ridden a Roscoe and was impressed with the big tires. It was a truly fun trailbike

if it were me, i personally have a lotof repressed aggression and would likely want the raciest thing i could get for my dollar, like the Chisel, or the Trek X-Caliber , but those fatter tired bikes are fun for sure

Most of the big manufacturers probably have competing models —- here are similar price point bikes from Giant, but i couldnt ascertain the level of suspension fork they had. An air fork vs a spring fork seems to be a unspoken dividing line between a “beginner” grade machine vs something that gets you in the door at an enthusiast level

happyhunting and i hope you can find something nice in stock!

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fathom-2-2021

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/xtc-slr-29-2-2021

Darth Lefty 02-21-21 10:00 AM


Originally Posted by milesf (Post 21933817)
Thanks so much for the advice, I'm in the California Bay Area.

P.S. Mongooses scare me, those things are death traps:lol:

You should have no trouble at all. You can’t throw a rock in the woods around here without hitting a mountain bike. Just go about a hundred over and a few hundred below your target range, filter out road bikes and so on. Most of the options are full squish though and since those are more expensive the ones in this price range are older.
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/...max_price=1600

Tell us size next...
Just a quick glance shows this very nice Chameleon https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/concord-2015-santa-cruz-chameleon/7277925947.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik...277888079.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik/d/aptos-santa-cruz-highball-carbon-full/7275310755.html

DMC707 02-21-21 10:31 AM


Originally Posted by Darth Lefty (Post 21934073)
You should have no trouble at all. You can’t throw a rock in the woods around here without hitting a mountain bike. Just go about a hundred over and a few hundred below your target range, filter out road bikes and so on. Most of the options are full squish though and since those are more expensive the ones in this price range are older.
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/...max_price=1600

Tell us size next...
Just a quick glance shows this very nice Chameleon https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik...277925947.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik...277888079.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik...275310755.html



hey no fair! Your craigslist has much nicer bikes than mine! Lol


https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik...275310755.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik...279983313.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik...277907719.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik...278058103.html


id still take that road trip i laidout theough ! 👍👍👍

veganbikes 02-21-21 10:56 AM

I always love threads like this. I want a Porsche Cayan at used Toyota Corolla prices.

I would as DMC707 said go get some garlic and bikes but also look at the Spesh Chisel. It was on my list of bikes that I was going after till they sold out of my color and I ended up saying screw it go for the Timberjack Ti. It is a really excellent quality bike that isn't ridiculously priced for what you are getting. It is not just another cheapo aluminum frame but a really nice frame using their D'Aluisio Smart Weld technology which strengthens the welds and the bike overall with a little bit of precision.

If you get a new Specialized you have a lifetime warranty on the frame so long as you are the original owner. My aluminum Langster died after 11 years (crack in the B.B.) and they replaced it and I was quite grateful. It pays to buy a new bike especially for the warranty and support for all the components and also the knowledge that nobody else has gone out and damaged the bike and then is selling it used hoping you won't notice)

Darth Lefty 02-21-21 12:27 PM

...and the 21 Fuse got a good review from HTP. But inventory and price are problems this year


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